Kickstarting Your Web Series or Fiction Podcast – Part 2

by Bob Tinsley

(NOTE FROM LB: Part 1 is terrific, and it’s HERE.)

Rewards.

From KickStarter:

“Offer simple, meaningful rewards that bring backers closer to your project. Rewards don’t have to be physical items. Consider special experiences or behind-the-scenes peeks into your project.”

From BT:

Do not offer physical rewards on your first project. My rewards are electronic copies of audiobooks and ebooks, digital art packages, and personalized mentions and credits as Co-Producer and Co-Executive Producer at the end of the audiobook.

If you do offer physical rewards make abso-damn-lutely sure you know all there is to know about shipping costs. That can make or break the campaign. A successful campaign by KS standards is one that gets pledges equaling or surpassing the goal you set.

By your standards a successful campaign should be one in which your proceeds exceed your expenses. If you underestimate the shipping costs (or any others [art, video, etc.]) what KS considers a successful campaign could be a personal disaster. So, BE CAREFUL! Do your research on everything that can affect your campaign costs.

Since my artist will get a percentage of the proceeds of the campaign (if there are any) and all the rewards require no shipping, the only cost to me is my time and the new music ($22).

Setting Goals in Kickstarter

How much money do you need? Or want?

The key here is — BE REALISTIC.

I saw one campaign that had been pledged $12 THOUSAND with 2 days left to go. The problem? That $12 THOUSAND represented 1% of their goal. My immediate reaction was WTF??? I don’t think they funded.

The right way to go about it?

1. Figure out what all your rewards will be.
2. Figure out what each of those rewards is going to cost you. Include production, shipping, handling (this could be a big number), artist costs, composer costs, narrator costs, video production costs (if you do this yourself [it’s not difficult] the cost is only your time), etc.
3. Put in anything else you or your acquaintances think might, in extremis, come up.
4. Add it all up.
5. Add 25-50%.
6. **VERY IMPORTANT** Examine your base. Do you have enough family, friends, fans, and acquaintances that will spend $5 to $15 (the most popular reward levels) to reach that goal? If not, re-evaluate.

Remember, don’t be greedy!

My KS campaign launched today (8/18). Officially. And therein lies the cautionary tale. Historically, most successful campaigns launch on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.

On Saturday (8/15) I was putting the finishing touches on my project. I had specified both a launch date (8/18) and an end date (9/10). I felt like I had done the best I could so I decided to hit the launch button to keep my perfectionist self from going nuts changing things, expecting that KS would note the launch button and not actually launch it until my specified date.

Nope. Apparently you can specify a launch date and a duration or you can specify an end date. If you do both, it defaults to the end date and the day you press the button.

So there I was with my first training-wheels campaign launching on a weekend, historically the worst time to launch.

After pounding my head on the table for 23 minutes I wiped up the blood and decided that there was a way around this. I just wouldn’t officially launch the campaign until today. No promotion. Just a little pre-launch promotion starting Sunday without mentioning the URL.

I had my first contributor Saturday afternoon. At the highest pledge level! By Monday night my pledges had reached 26% of my total goal. I had told no one the URL of the campaign. I recognized no one on the list of contributors.

I had been “discovered.” Kickstarter is another path to “Discovery.” Whoda thunk it?

So, here I sit, trying desperately not to check my funding level every 3.4 minutes, and trying to figure out some non-repetitive way to continue promotion during the remainder of the period and still get some of my other work done.

On the plus side, I feel like a success. Even if the funding falls into a bottomless hole between now and 9/10 I’ll still feel like I accomplished something important.

And I’ll probably do the audio book no matter what happens. (But don’t tell anyone! Shhhh!)

I’ll leave promotion for the next article.

BTW, as of 8:30 last Sunday morning (8/23) my campaign was 43% funded! And I’m happy to tell you that you can learn more about  HERE


Bob Tinsley is an artist, writer, boataholic and new audio/podcast fiction writer-producer. A mighty fine one too, as his 2nd and 4th place People’s Pilot 2019 finishes demonstrate.